In a belt-tightening move that banking analysts say could spread through the industry, Chase Manhattan Corp. yesterday said it plans to cut its payroll by 5,000 people, increase its reserve for bad loans and slash its common stock dividend in half.

The move by the nation's third-largest bank holding company is part of a major restructuring that Chase hopes will help it cut costs by some $300 million a year. It also comes in the wake of repeated rumors about the deteriorating condition of the New York-based bank, which Chase sought to dampen by disclosing its restructuring plans a week earlier than planned.

A company spokesman said that the staff cuts, which amount to 12 percent of the work force and will be the largest in the company's history, will not force the company to cut back on service to customers.

Chase's actions -- including its larger-than-expected $650 million addition to loan loss reserves -- reflect the accelerated deterioration of commercial real estate markets in the United States and resulting defaults on loans to that industry. The softening real estate market is expected to force more and more banks across the country to follow Chase's lead.

"These are painful steps but necessary steps," said James McDermott, head of research at the banking securities firm of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods in New York. "Whether it's sufficient depends on how long the economy stays where it is and whether real estate markets stabilize."

However necessary, actions like that which Chase has taken could serve to heighten the public's concern about the health of these institutions.

"I don't think the marketplace is going to embrace {Chase's action} warmly right away ... because it's going to keep people wary of the general condition of commercial banks," said McDermott.

Alex Sheshunoff, president of Sheshunoff & Co., an Austin, Tex.-based bank consulting firm, said, "The fact that there are 5,000 people to lay off is simply an indication that there were ample opportunities to reduce staff and at the same time maintain service quality.

"I think you'll see this happening at major bank companies across the country as they seek to cut expenses to maintain profits. You're also going to see a lot of consolidation between banking organization and, as a result, the need for fewer employees.

"This is not going to be the last of the layoffs," he said. "The industry is starting to hunker down."

Chase, like many banking giants, has been weakened in recent years by losses on loans to lesser developed countries. In 1989, for example, Chase reported a loss of $665 million, primarily for that reason. And last week, despite Chase's denials, rumors continued on Wall Street that the banking titan had trouble renewing $200 million of its outstanding debt. Chase did have to raise the interest on the debt to more than 13 percent, a significant increase from the 9.66 percent it had been paying.

"We've had no trouble funding ourselves," said Chase spokesman Ken Mills.

While analysts applauded Chase's action, the severity of the measures startled some on Wall Street, who said they concluded that the troubles of the banking industry from real estate loans and other problem areas are more severe than had been thought.

Chase shares fell $1 to $12.75 yesterday and have declined from the $17 range at the beginning of the month. Part of that decline is the result of heavy selling buy so-called short-sellers, professional traders who bet that a company's stock price will decline.

The cutbacks and other parts of the restructuring will require the bank to take a one-time charge of $350 million against the third quarter that will result in a loss for that period of approximately $625 million. Chase's management will present its recommendation that dividends be cut to the Chase board of directors at the next regular meeting Oct. 17. The board is expected to endorse it, a Chase spokesman said.